cover art debate

So as you well know by now, I am obsessed by book covers. It’s all part of my obsession with books. Now I need your opinion on an upcoming cover. Just Breathe has a strong, sophisticated cover, clean and light, with a single evocative image:

it was a bestseller
it was a bestseller

Next hardcover is Lakeshore Christmas. Marketing-wise, this cover has a big job to do. It needs to straddle the line between a hardcover and the Lakeshore paperbacks. It needs to attract readers who have never heard of me but who might want to give it a try. It needs to be memorable. It currently looks like this:
it wants to be a bestseller
it wants to be a bestseller

The shot above is an early mockup that was sent. The title is wrong (no “A”) but the general idea is there. Next we saw the full jacket. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what I think of Barkis’s star turn:
book jacket laid flat
book jacket laid flat

There are a couple of tweaks. The title script is nicer, I think, though my agent wanted my name bigger. There’s a #1 in front of “New York Times” which makes me proud and could be a selling point. I don’t love the text at the very top and hope they’ll move that. It looks cluttered, and remember, we want this to appeal to people who haven’t yet discovered the series, so it’s not much of a hook and might be off-putting to people who don’t want to read a book out of order.
The Lakeshore Chronicles have a “look”–small-town charm in miniature. In that sense, this cover works. It’s a pretty image, too. Reminds me of those little collectible Christmas villages. No complaints about that. The question is, will it stand out? When you view Just Breathe from across the bookstore, the image grabs your attention. The Christmas cover…maybe not.  My concern–the eye doesn’t know where to go. To the couple on the bench? The gazebo? There isn’t something strong, standing out. Up against all the other books on the shelf, it might end up looking like wallpaper. At this point, it probably can’t be radically changed, but there could be some tweaking. My thought is maybe they could bring up the light around part of the image–maybe the gazebo and tree?–to give book browsers something to focus on. Better yet, it needs to look like something they want to take home with them. C’mon, put on your art-director hat and chime in.

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0 Responses

  1. Chiming in – take the gazebo out, add another tree or two and put Lakeshore Chronicles at the bottom of the cover.
    Do you want the people in – if yes, take the gazebo out. If you want the gazebo in – take the people out, zero in on the – lakeshore.

    Put your finger on the people then you see the lakeshore and the town. Put your finger on the gazebo, you see the people sitting at the lakeshore.

    Like the blue colour – looks like a crisp winter day. Of course, love the back cover. Barkis is the star with his “Christmas Red” coat in the snow flakes. Aren’t you glad we had all that snow now?

    1. You’re right, maybe that’s why the cover is a bit “busy.” There are 2 images competing for attention. I will mention this; I think it can be tweaked.

      I had a past cover that showed a structure that looked exactly like an outhouse. They were able to digitally “erase” it, thank goodness.

  2. Chiming in – take the gazebo out, add another tree or two and put Lakeshore Chronicles at the bottom of the cover.
    Do you want the people in – if yes, take the gazebo out. If you want the gazebo in – take the people out, zero in on the – lakeshore.
    Put your finger on the people then you see the lakeshore and the town. Put your finger on the gazebo, you see the people sitting at the lakeshore.
    Like the blue colour – looks like a crisp winter day. Of course, love the back cover. Barkis is the star with his “Christmas Red” coat in the snow flakes. Aren’t you glad we had all that snow now?

    1. You’re right, maybe that’s why the cover is a bit “busy.” There are 2 images competing for attention. I will mention this; I think it can be tweaked.
      I had a past cover that showed a structure that looked exactly like an outhouse. They were able to digitally “erase” it, thank goodness.

  3. Hi,
    I am a ‘new’ reader… all because of “Just Breathe”‘s cover! Yes, I was perusing the bookstore aisles and that book caught my eye. Upon reading the backcover, I purchased it. Excellent, by the way!
    Since then, I have returned to the bookstore looking for more of your books.
    For the cover: perhaps, move the title down a bit, away from your name. Like the spacing in the first cover. And your name is fine in that font size (definitely an improvement over the first).
    As for the picture, it is pretty. However, I am always drawn to the people on the bench. Not really liking them. I haven’t read the other stories in the chronicles (but I will soon), so I don’t know where the story locale is. But really how many people sit on a bench in December with snow on the ground? Walking, yes. Sitting, not likely.
    I like the gazebo, reminds me of a small town. Perhaps, the cover design could be ‘zoomed in’ on to enlarge and focus on the ‘town/lake’ (bringing it closer). Small towns are charming and the architecture of the buildings on the cover is beautiful but not really noticeable.
    I look forward to seeing the book on the shelves and reading it! Must get started on the other books in the chronicle. Because, yes, I am a type A reader and would not want to read the stories out of order! Perhaps, on the back cover or inside the flap, there could be a mention of which number this book is going to be in the chronicles.

    1. See, this is just the sort of input I need. Like you, I tend to look at the people and yes, when you think about it, why are they out on a bench in this weather. And what’s with the size of the bench?!

      The gazebo could be highlighted or lit up. I’ll check. It’s actually on the spine of the book, and when shelved spine-out (which it will be in many bookstores) it does look really nice. The art dept was smart to pay attention to the spine.

      1. A lit up gazebo, I do like that!

        And I do like the spine, that is a nice touch, too. (For all of us book savers, the spine will be nice on our shelves as well.)

  4. Hi,
    I am a ‘new’ reader… all because of “Just Breathe”‘s cover! Yes, I was perusing the bookstore aisles and that book caught my eye. Upon reading the backcover, I purchased it. Excellent, by the way!
    Since then, I have returned to the bookstore looking for more of your books.
    For the cover: perhaps, move the title down a bit, away from your name. Like the spacing in the first cover. And your name is fine in that font size (definitely an improvement over the first).
    As for the picture, it is pretty. However, I am always drawn to the people on the bench. Not really liking them. I haven’t read the other stories in the chronicles (but I will soon), so I don’t know where the story locale is. But really how many people sit on a bench in December with snow on the ground? Walking, yes. Sitting, not likely.
    I like the gazebo, reminds me of a small town. Perhaps, the cover design could be ‘zoomed in’ on to enlarge and focus on the ‘town/lake’ (bringing it closer). Small towns are charming and the architecture of the buildings on the cover is beautiful but not really noticeable.
    I look forward to seeing the book on the shelves and reading it! Must get started on the other books in the chronicle. Because, yes, I am a type A reader and would not want to read the stories out of order! Perhaps, on the back cover or inside the flap, there could be a mention of which number this book is going to be in the chronicles.

    1. See, this is just the sort of input I need. Like you, I tend to look at the people and yes, when you think about it, why are they out on a bench in this weather. And what’s with the size of the bench?!
      The gazebo could be highlighted or lit up. I’ll check. It’s actually on the spine of the book, and when shelved spine-out (which it will be in many bookstores) it does look really nice. The art dept was smart to pay attention to the spine.

      1. A lit up gazebo, I do like that!
        And I do like the spine, that is a nice touch, too. (For all of us book savers, the spine will be nice on our shelves as well.)

  5. I’m a Wiggs reader. Your name and “Lakeshore” would draw me in. However, not being of a faith that puts any stock in Christmas, the cover and the “Christmas” in the title would be an instant pass if I’d never heard of you.

    You can ignore my input, though — I’m undoubtedly in a tiny minority. But you did say to chime in, so I chimed (chum? chummed?)

    I’ll still buy the book! And thanks again for the copy of Just Breathe.

    1. Thanks, Terry. I hope there’s more than Christmas going on in the book–they have to save the town library–so that aspect should appeal to booklovers. “I chum in” — good one, LOL!

      1. Oh, I KNOW there will be more than Christmas. But given the “season” starts right around Halloween, I’ve developed a Scrooge/Grinch attitude over the years. Normally, a book with Christmas in the title would be a pass unless (as in this case) I’m familiar with the author. I do have a few Christmas books on my shelves, but they weren’t purchased because of the title or cover. And then, the blatant Christmas marketing seems to limit the shelf life appeal for those looking for holiday reads.

        (I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate here — as I said, it’s an auto buy for me)

  6. I’m a Wiggs reader. Your name and “Lakeshore” would draw me in. However, not being of a faith that puts any stock in Christmas, the cover and the “Christmas” in the title would be an instant pass if I’d never heard of you.
    You can ignore my input, though — I’m undoubtedly in a tiny minority. But you did say to chime in, so I chimed (chum? chummed?)
    I’ll still buy the book! And thanks again for the copy of Just Breathe.

    1. Thanks, Terry. I hope there’s more than Christmas going on in the book–they have to save the town library–so that aspect should appeal to booklovers. “I chum in” — good one, LOL!

      1. Oh, I KNOW there will be more than Christmas. But given the “season” starts right around Halloween, I’ve developed a Scrooge/Grinch attitude over the years. Normally, a book with Christmas in the title would be a pass unless (as in this case) I’m familiar with the author. I do have a few Christmas books on my shelves, but they weren’t purchased because of the title or cover. And then, the blatant Christmas marketing seems to limit the shelf life appeal for those looking for holiday reads.
        (I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate here — as I said, it’s an auto buy for me)

  7. Far too “busy.” Trash it & start over. Use “Just Breathe” as a style model – far more effective & bigger impact.

  8. Far too “busy.” Trash it & start over. Use “Just Breathe” as a style model – far more effective & bigger impact.

  9. Hey Susan, I’m with those not wild about the people and the bench, which has gotta have snow on it. They distract me. (I’m also with your agent. Bigger author names are ALWAYS better, lol)

    I like the lakeshore, the town, the gazebo — which I think is a more charming focus. Though I’d maybe make that street or whatever it is narrower. That keeps catching my eye, too. And since it’s a Christmas book, whatever happened to the idea of a lighted tree in the town square? (Maybe at the gazebo?)

    Whatever the cover, the book will sell like gangbusters anyway. But since you asked. . .

    I bought Just Breathe for my kindle. So I missed having that fab cover to look at every day, but I did see it and love, love, love it! Also love the back cover pic of this book. It reminds me of how much I’ve been missing snow!

    1. Helpful comments, yay! when we first started talking cover art on this book, I sent in these 2 images: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9nUhJCHSfKR1F5UeTJl2RQ?authkey=Gv1sRgCMqOvLnDzszUggE&feat=directlink
      http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nkFd-hxJ0hWvZokox7Es-w?authkey=Gv1sRgCMqOvLnDzszUggE&feat=directlink
      thinking they would want to go more in the direction of Just Breathe. However, they felt the Lakeshore look was the stronger selling point. They’re usually right, bless them. We’ll see…

      1. I automatically buy anything I can find with your name on it! That’s the only way I would have gotten into the Lakeshore Chronicles at all because I really don’t like the covers. I love the Just Breathe cover and would like to see your publisher go in that direction. I like the 2nd image you posted here, with the snow globe.

  10. Hey Susan, I’m with those not wild about the people and the bench, which has gotta have snow on it. They distract me. (I’m also with your agent. Bigger author names are ALWAYS better, lol)
    I like the lakeshore, the town, the gazebo — which I think is a more charming focus. Though I’d maybe make that street or whatever it is narrower. That keeps catching my eye, too. And since it’s a Christmas book, whatever happened to the idea of a lighted tree in the town square? (Maybe at the gazebo?)
    Whatever the cover, the book will sell like gangbusters anyway. But since you asked. . .
    I bought Just Breathe for my kindle. So I missed having that fab cover to look at every day, but I did see it and love, love, love it! Also love the back cover pic of this book. It reminds me of how much I’ve been missing snow!

    1. Helpful comments, yay! when we first started talking cover art on this book, I sent in these 2 images: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/9nUhJCHSfKR1F5UeTJl2RQ?authkey=Gv1sRgCMqOvLnDzszUggE&feat=directlink
      http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/nkFd-hxJ0hWvZokox7Es-w?authkey=Gv1sRgCMqOvLnDzszUggE&feat=directlink
      thinking they would want to go more in the direction of Just Breathe. However, they felt the Lakeshore look was the stronger selling point. They’re usually right, bless them. We’ll see…

      1. I automatically buy anything I can find with your name on it! That’s the only way I would have gotten into the Lakeshore Chronicles at all because I really don’t like the covers. I love the Just Breathe cover and would like to see your publisher go in that direction. I like the 2nd image you posted here, with the snow globe.

  11. Hi, Susan! I just pulled some of the other Lakeshore Chronicles off my shelf for comparison. The covers for “Fireside” and “Snowfall at Willow Lake” both feature the countryside, but have a hero/heroine engaged in their surroundings, so your eye is drawn to them as well as the setting. “The Winter Lodge” doesn’t feature a H/H at all, but you can see the skis in the foreground, which still gives it a personal touch. I think the new cover is missing that personal connection. It’s too busy. It looks to me that there’s a person walking between the couple on the bench and the gazebo. If I were the cover artist, I’d put the couple walking there towards the gazebo, and I’d enlarge that portion a bit to remove the bench entirely. Of course, that might be more than just a “tweak” at this point.

    1. good insight – about the human figures. The walking figure almost looks ominous now that I am staring at it. If that was changed into a couple in love and the bench was gone….? Hmmm

  12. Hi, Susan! I just pulled some of the other Lakeshore Chronicles off my shelf for comparison. The covers for “Fireside” and “Snowfall at Willow Lake” both feature the countryside, but have a hero/heroine engaged in their surroundings, so your eye is drawn to them as well as the setting. “The Winter Lodge” doesn’t feature a H/H at all, but you can see the skis in the foreground, which still gives it a personal touch. I think the new cover is missing that personal connection. It’s too busy. It looks to me that there’s a person walking between the couple on the bench and the gazebo. If I were the cover artist, I’d put the couple walking there towards the gazebo, and I’d enlarge that portion a bit to remove the bench entirely. Of course, that might be more than just a “tweak” at this point.

    1. good insight – about the human figures. The walking figure almost looks ominous now that I am staring at it. If that was changed into a couple in love and the bench was gone….? Hmmm

  13. I would be disappointed if the Lakeshore Christmas cover did not look similar to the others in the series. I like seeing people on the cover, like Noah & Sophie (Sophah!) and I like the small town feel that I get from looking at the cover of each book. When I see the whole series together on my book shelf (or in a book bag being handed to a friend) I get all warm & fuzzy inside! I am absolutely one of those people that looks at all the details and looks for clues or things I can recognize from knowing about it from a previous book. I am probably the last person who’s going to tell you it’s too busy.

    …so who’s in the picture? ;-p

    1. YES – this is what the publisher thinks, as well as my agent’s associates…Make sure it looks and feels like a Lakeshore book. I do agree with this. The couple – Eddie Haven – friend of Bo & Noah, and Maureen Davenport, the town librarian. She was mentioned maybe one time but she has quite the story! There are a few Bellamys running around. The Daisy/Logan/Julian fans are going to shoot me dead after this one. No, they’ll probably let me live to finish Daisy’s story….

  14. I would be disappointed if the Lakeshore Christmas cover did not look similar to the others in the series. I like seeing people on the cover, like Noah & Sophie (Sophah!) and I like the small town feel that I get from looking at the cover of each book. When I see the whole series together on my book shelf (or in a book bag being handed to a friend) I get all warm & fuzzy inside! I am absolutely one of those people that looks at all the details and looks for clues or things I can recognize from knowing about it from a previous book. I am probably the last person who’s going to tell you it’s too busy.
    …so who’s in the picture? ;-p

    1. YES – this is what the publisher thinks, as well as my agent’s associates…Make sure it looks and feels like a Lakeshore book. I do agree with this. The couple – Eddie Haven – friend of Bo & Noah, and Maureen Davenport, the town librarian. She was mentioned maybe one time but she has quite the story! There are a few Bellamys running around. The Daisy/Logan/Julian fans are going to shoot me dead after this one. No, they’ll probably let me live to finish Daisy’s story….

  15. I would lose the top line of type, move to bottom maybe dark blue type across the snow. I do like the gazebo, if it could be highlighting to “draw the eye” idea. Everyone has come up with a lot of what occured to me too – living where there is snow in winter, the thought of sitting made me want to zap the bench entirely……..and walk the couple in the gazebo’s direction. They need a dog. Is there a dog in this story ?

    I LOVED the snowglobe cover art………but it would have been too much of a drastic departure from the rest of the Lakeshore Chronicles. I liked the intensity of the colors on the top rendition……the cover as it is done, too busy, and a lot kind of faded together for lack of coffee and better term. Indeed like a miniature village. Wallpaper, perhaps when with other books on the shelf. Alone ? Very pretty. Hmmm
    Your and Barkis on the back cover is the best. I love covers too. Still love that globe idea……maybe for forthcoming books….then they would share a “look”

    Pam

  16. I would lose the top line of type, move to bottom maybe dark blue type across the snow. I do like the gazebo, if it could be highlighting to “draw the eye” idea. Everyone has come up with a lot of what occured to me too – living where there is snow in winter, the thought of sitting made me want to zap the bench entirely……..and walk the couple in the gazebo’s direction. They need a dog. Is there a dog in this story ?
    I LOVED the snowglobe cover art………but it would have been too much of a drastic departure from the rest of the Lakeshore Chronicles. I liked the intensity of the colors on the top rendition……the cover as it is done, too busy, and a lot kind of faded together for lack of coffee and better term. Indeed like a miniature village. Wallpaper, perhaps when with other books on the shelf. Alone ? Very pretty. Hmmm
    Your and Barkis on the back cover is the best. I love covers too. Still love that globe idea……maybe for forthcoming books….then they would share a “look”
    Pam

  17. Maybe put lights on the trees behind the gazebo.
    Think about freezing the lake. Take the couple off the bench and have them ice skating on the lake.
    I am a true fan of yours. I would buy the book even if they were standing on their heads.LOL

  18. Maybe put lights on the trees behind the gazebo.
    Think about freezing the lake. Take the couple off the bench and have them ice skating on the lake.
    I am a true fan of yours. I would buy the book even if they were standing on their heads.LOL

  19. I have enjoyed reading the comments… I just don’t happen to agree with all of them 🙂 Like Melissa, I would buy “Just Breathe” on the strength of the cover alone. It looks both intriguing and inviting. I love covers that look “cheerful” and have been known to purchase books for that alone. Looking at it brings to mind the phrase, “A breath of fresh air”, and being that the title is about breathing, I guess that’s appropriate 🙂

    The Lakeshore Christmas cover enchants me (seriously), and like Jenn said, it’s in keeping with the rest of the series. I agree with Carol that the gazbeo SORT OF stands out like a sore thumb, but since it enters into the plot of the story (I’m sure), I think readers may look back at the cover as they read. I often don’t pay much attention to the cover until I’m already reading the book 🙂 The back cover is wonderful. Keep that picture on it, for sure!

    I like the bench in the prominent position it’s in–it’s like an invitation to find out why it’s there (I guess the same could be said about the gazebo, but the bench just fits in better).

    IMHO, someone did a mighty good job on both!

  20. I have enjoyed reading the comments… I just don’t happen to agree with all of them 🙂 Like Melissa, I would buy “Just Breathe” on the strength of the cover alone. It looks both intriguing and inviting. I love covers that look “cheerful” and have been known to purchase books for that alone. Looking at it brings to mind the phrase, “A breath of fresh air”, and being that the title is about breathing, I guess that’s appropriate 🙂
    The Lakeshore Christmas cover enchants me (seriously), and like Jenn said, it’s in keeping with the rest of the series. I agree with Carol that the gazbeo SORT OF stands out like a sore thumb, but since it enters into the plot of the story (I’m sure), I think readers may look back at the cover as they read. I often don’t pay much attention to the cover until I’m already reading the book 🙂 The back cover is wonderful. Keep that picture on it, for sure!
    I like the bench in the prominent position it’s in–it’s like an invitation to find out why it’s there (I guess the same could be said about the gazebo, but the bench just fits in better).
    IMHO, someone did a mighty good job on both!

  21. i agree with everyone who’s said the cover’s a little busy- i’d focus more on the gazebo than the people sitting on the bench- what the heck are they doing sitting on a bench in the middle of the winter, anyway? the cover reminds me of exactly what i picture when i think of the lakeshore chronicles. feels comfy, like home. and if it weren’t part of the lakeshore chronicles or written by you, i’d pass on it because of christmas in the title. just my two cents- and am totally looking forward to reading it!

  22. i agree with everyone who’s said the cover’s a little busy- i’d focus more on the gazebo than the people sitting on the bench- what the heck are they doing sitting on a bench in the middle of the winter, anyway? the cover reminds me of exactly what i picture when i think of the lakeshore chronicles. feels comfy, like home. and if it weren’t part of the lakeshore chronicles or written by you, i’d pass on it because of christmas in the title. just my two cents- and am totally looking forward to reading it!

  23. Personally, I prefer covers like ‘Just Breathe’. I went to your website to look at all of your book covers, and especially the Lakeside covers. Dockside is my favorite. Then I went back to the new cover. The Gazebo and the couple fight for dominance, and that takes away from the cover. The gazebo is charming, but it doesn’t add to the overall charm of the ‘small town’ feel. They also need to do something else with the words ‘Lakeshore Chronicles’ Not sure what, but something.

    I compared the first draft and the final draft and I really like the early draft better! The perspective is better and the cover is simpler.

    That’s my .02. Have a great, safe 4th!

  24. Personally, I prefer covers like ‘Just Breathe’. I went to your website to look at all of your book covers, and especially the Lakeside covers. Dockside is my favorite. Then I went back to the new cover. The Gazebo and the couple fight for dominance, and that takes away from the cover. The gazebo is charming, but it doesn’t add to the overall charm of the ‘small town’ feel. They also need to do something else with the words ‘Lakeshore Chronicles’ Not sure what, but something.
    I compared the first draft and the final draft and I really like the early draft better! The perspective is better and the cover is simpler.
    That’s my .02. Have a great, safe 4th!

  25. I’d like to see the people on the bench gone. Light the gazebo with those tiny white lights. Too much yellow light would make it look like a Thomas Kinkade book.

    Good luck!

  26. I’d like to see the people on the bench gone. Light the gazebo with those tiny white lights. Too much yellow light would make it look like a Thomas Kinkade book.
    Good luck!

  27. OK – some recent writers’ posts have been dealing with the importance of the first paragraph to hook a reader, but for me the initial attraction is the cover. Simple, beach scene = SOLD. This cover looks too busy and a little old fashioned, I would not pick it as first time buyer of yours. I would love to see a simpler, gentler scene, less action, more “quiet walk with gentle snow falling” feeling.

  28. OK – some recent writers’ posts have been dealing with the importance of the first paragraph to hook a reader, but for me the initial attraction is the cover. Simple, beach scene = SOLD. This cover looks too busy and a little old fashioned, I would not pick it as first time buyer of yours. I would love to see a simpler, gentler scene, less action, more “quiet walk with gentle snow falling” feeling.

  29. Hi Susan, here are my thought.
    The title placement throughs me off a little. I think the title would look nice at the bottom after romoving the people. The gazebo makes my imagination work and leaves me curious as to how that comes into play in the story. The little image that is currently under the “L” could be placed under the title acting as a eye catcher. Then you would be able to enlarge your name and both get equal attention from the reader. Hope this helps!

    Vecia

  30. Hi Susan, here are my thought.
    The title placement throughs me off a little. I think the title would look nice at the bottom after romoving the people. The gazebo makes my imagination work and leaves me curious as to how that comes into play in the story. The little image that is currently under the “L” could be placed under the title acting as a eye catcher. Then you would be able to enlarge your name and both get equal attention from the reader. Hope this helps!
    Vecia

  31. Hi Susan,

    I think you should leave the gazebo in, but make it more of the focal point. Have your couple hugging under it with christmas lights around the roof. Get rid of the bench because it makes people feel “cold”. (Seriously, who sits on a bench in snow?)
    Also, the town is too Brown. The buildings are all so brown. When I picture avalon, I picture a sweet little town on the lake with happy people and decorated places. A little bit of coloring on the buildings will bring in the home town feel.
    Thanks for reading,
    -Mary

    1. P.s. By brown, I meant too dark in the background. Have your couple walking by Jenny’s bakery maybe……
      or skating on the lake, just please get rid of the bench.
      PPS. Thanks for the Daisy/ logan/ julian teaser. Now, I won’t be able to stop thinking about it. I realize Daisy is in a predictament with baby daddy drama and all, but I seriously think Julian brings out her creative side and makes her feel alive. I vote Julian;)
      But then I think about Jenny and Phillip and feel bad for the baby…..
      geez, they sound just like real people

  32. Hi Susan,
    I think you should leave the gazebo in, but make it more of the focal point. Have your couple hugging under it with christmas lights around the roof. Get rid of the bench because it makes people feel “cold”. (Seriously, who sits on a bench in snow?)
    Also, the town is too Brown. The buildings are all so brown. When I picture avalon, I picture a sweet little town on the lake with happy people and decorated places. A little bit of coloring on the buildings will bring in the home town feel.
    Thanks for reading,
    -Mary

    1. P.s. By brown, I meant too dark in the background. Have your couple walking by Jenny’s bakery maybe……
      or skating on the lake, just please get rid of the bench.
      PPS. Thanks for the Daisy/ logan/ julian teaser. Now, I won’t be able to stop thinking about it. I realize Daisy is in a predictament with baby daddy drama and all, but I seriously think Julian brings out her creative side and makes her feel alive. I vote Julian;)
      But then I think about Jenny and Phillip and feel bad for the baby…..
      geez, they sound just like real people

  33. I agree, the cover art for Just Breathe. It does just that, for the reader. It gives you the space.

    On the Lakeside book, lose that second cover with the snowy cast to it. The first cover with the stronger colors makes a bigger impact.

    Because it is a tad larger than the second cover, looks stronger. That second cover is too busy and hazy for my eye. More of a turn off.

    *Maybe put The Lakeshore Chronicles under your name as an alert to new readers that it is a part of a series. I think the New York Times line should be the top line.

    JHO

    Jan

  34. I agree, the cover art for Just Breathe. It does just that, for the reader. It gives you the space.
    On the Lakeside book, lose that second cover with the snowy cast to it. The first cover with the stronger colors makes a bigger impact.
    Because it is a tad larger than the second cover, looks stronger. That second cover is too busy and hazy for my eye. More of a turn off.
    *Maybe put The Lakeshore Chronicles under your name as an alert to new readers that it is a part of a series. I think the New York Times line should be the top line.
    JHO
    Jan

  35. Chiming in again ~ reading all the comments – the first cover is much bolder in colour, so yeah, go with the bolder colour.

    *** YOUR NAME – font needsto match the other Lakeshore Chronicles. Your name is what drew me to your books.

    I looked at all the other covers too. The first book had really bold colouring – biigger impact with the bolder colours.

    Have a great 4th July!

  36. Chiming in again ~ reading all the comments – the first cover is much bolder in colour, so yeah, go with the bolder colour.
    *** YOUR NAME – font needsto match the other Lakeshore Chronicles. Your name is what drew me to your books.
    I looked at all the other covers too. The first book had really bold colouring – biigger impact with the bolder colours.
    Have a great 4th July!

  37. I’ll buy it no matter what but I vote for a more elegant look- whatever that is. Presents in the snow at waters edge dropped by the feet lovers in a clinche?

    I think the town with the RV parked along the busy street it looks too much like Leavenworth WA for me- too touristy. The busy background takes away from the focal point- whatever the focal point is supposed to be. This looks- dare I say it?- too Harlequin.

    In the first cover, whatever the white line is around the woman’s face makes her look like a nun; and the hairstyle on the other person looks rather feminine to me. Not that you writing a lesbian love story wouldn’t be interesting, but I doubt that that is the direction your publisher is heading.

    I know you said they are to the tweaking point but you asked for thoughts.

    Happy Fourth on your beautiful beach.

  38. I’ll buy it no matter what but I vote for a more elegant look- whatever that is. Presents in the snow at waters edge dropped by the feet lovers in a clinche?
    I think the town with the RV parked along the busy street it looks too much like Leavenworth WA for me- too touristy. The busy background takes away from the focal point- whatever the focal point is supposed to be. This looks- dare I say it?- too Harlequin.
    In the first cover, whatever the white line is around the woman’s face makes her look like a nun; and the hairstyle on the other person looks rather feminine to me. Not that you writing a lesbian love story wouldn’t be interesting, but I doubt that that is the direction your publisher is heading.
    I know you said they are to the tweaking point but you asked for thoughts.
    Happy Fourth on your beautiful beach.

  39. Oh, while I wasn’t wild about that wide street, I didn’t even notice the RV until I brought the cover up in a larger window. But you’re right, Leslie. The traffic is too busy (I’m guessing the cars are there to show it’s a contemporary?), which doesn’t exactly contribute to a romantic moment. And it does look like way touristy Leavenworth, WA. Also agree that there’s no focal point.

    Susan, as I said earlier, I agree with your agent that your name should be bigger. I’d move the title to the bottom. Do you even need that The Lakeshore Chronicle line? Doesn’t “Lakeshore Christmas” say that already to readers who’ve been reading the chronicle books? And if they haven’t come across them, given that sometimes people are reluctant to pick up a first book that’s later in a series, maybe Mira could just ditch that line entirely.

    And yes, these suggestions are all way beyond tweaking. Good luck!

  40. Oh, while I wasn’t wild about that wide street, I didn’t even notice the RV until I brought the cover up in a larger window. But you’re right, Leslie. The traffic is too busy (I’m guessing the cars are there to show it’s a contemporary?), which doesn’t exactly contribute to a romantic moment. And it does look like way touristy Leavenworth, WA. Also agree that there’s no focal point.
    Susan, as I said earlier, I agree with your agent that your name should be bigger. I’d move the title to the bottom. Do you even need that The Lakeshore Chronicle line? Doesn’t “Lakeshore Christmas” say that already to readers who’ve been reading the chronicle books? And if they haven’t come across them, given that sometimes people are reluctant to pick up a first book that’s later in a series, maybe Mira could just ditch that line entirely.
    And yes, these suggestions are all way beyond tweaking. Good luck!

  41. Hi Susan.

    The cover is great.

    As a photographer, NOTHING stands out/overpowers the scene….which is a GOOD thing in my humble opinion. When I looked at it, I “took in” the entire scene and wanted to be a part of the whole rather than just one corner of it.

    The curvature of the lakeshore is appealing and adds interest.

    The couple did not pull my attention away from the entirety of the town because they are minimal in the overall picture.

    I LOVE it…I want to go there immediately and explore every aspect of what is happening there.

    FAB picture of you and my favorite dog:o)) I hope the artists, at the least, painted JAY into the town!!!

    Greatly anticipating getting my hands/eyeballs on it:o)
    hugs!

  42. Hi Susan.
    The cover is great.
    As a photographer, NOTHING stands out/overpowers the scene….which is a GOOD thing in my humble opinion. When I looked at it, I “took in” the entire scene and wanted to be a part of the whole rather than just one corner of it.
    The curvature of the lakeshore is appealing and adds interest.
    The couple did not pull my attention away from the entirety of the town because they are minimal in the overall picture.
    I LOVE it…I want to go there immediately and explore every aspect of what is happening there.
    FAB picture of you and my favorite dog:o)) I hope the artists, at the least, painted JAY into the town!!!
    Greatly anticipating getting my hands/eyeballs on it:o)
    hugs!

  43. P.S, I buy books by covers…that is how I found you in the first place, Susan.

    That being said, I would buy this book in an instant to find out what was going on in the quaint town as usually there is more than meets the eye.

    And I live in a snowy town and have sat at our lake’s edge in the snow and cold and enjoyed the view, so I believe thee people on the bench draw readers in by making the town people friendly. Who wants to visit a town where people hole themselves up in the winter?

    :o)

  44. P.S, I buy books by covers…that is how I found you in the first place, Susan.
    That being said, I would buy this book in an instant to find out what was going on in the quaint town as usually there is more than meets the eye.
    And I live in a snowy town and have sat at our lake’s edge in the snow and cold and enjoyed the view, so I believe thee people on the bench draw readers in by making the town people friendly. Who wants to visit a town where people hole themselves up in the winter?
    :o)

  45. Sorry, Susan. The front of this cover sucks.

    The back cover is FANTASTIC. How the heck could somebody capture the essence of you so magnificently on the back and then f*ck up the front???

    You ARE a #1 NYT best selling author ~ not somebody just starting out with her first Harlequin romance. Where’s the respect for this in the design of this cover??? IMHO, somebody at your publisher must think that frozen lakes give them the liberty to skate.

    There’s no blend of naughty and nice. There’s no sophistication. There’s absolutely nothing on the FRONT of the book that says “Susan Wiggs” except for your name.

    The couple on the bench is pure amatuer hour. Gag.

    I’m guessing it is too late to have the artist(s) who created the covers for LAKESIDE COTTAGE and SUMMER BY THE SEA or JUST BREATHE have a go at this?

    So, how do you fix this?

    First, the back cover and the front cover need to be more in synch ~ the styles and colors clash.

    I just took a look at my pile of Debbie Macomber’s Christmas books. A design similar to CEDAR COVE CHRISTMAS might work ~ the art on the top cover reminds me of Leavenworth, WA. The shops and gazebo could be at the top of the cover ~ blending into the background. The lake could be made bigger ~ like the field on Debbie’s book ~ serve as background for your name + the book’s title.

    The bottom needs something powerful yet soft, sexy, and sophisticated like the art across the bottom of LAKESIDE COTTAGE and SUMMER BY THE SEA.

    You can tell your publisher from me that I’m one of your most loyal readers. But, if I didn’t know you or your books, I wouldn’t even see this cover in the piles at Costco.

    The front of this cover IMHO doesn’t even remotely begin to cut it. . .which you already know or you wouldn’t have asked us, eh? Your instincts are right, Susan. You work too hard to write books your readers love to be let down by your publisher’s choice in cover art. Make them work as hard and smart as you do.

    You give us your best. You deserve their best too. This ain’t it.

  46. Sorry, Susan. The front of this cover sucks.
    The back cover is FANTASTIC. How the heck could somebody capture the essence of you so magnificently on the back and then f*ck up the front???
    You ARE a #1 NYT best selling author ~ not somebody just starting out with her first Harlequin romance. Where’s the respect for this in the design of this cover??? IMHO, somebody at your publisher must think that frozen lakes give them the liberty to skate.
    There’s no blend of naughty and nice. There’s no sophistication. There’s absolutely nothing on the FRONT of the book that says “Susan Wiggs” except for your name.
    The couple on the bench is pure amatuer hour. Gag.
    I’m guessing it is too late to have the artist(s) who created the covers for LAKESIDE COTTAGE and SUMMER BY THE SEA or JUST BREATHE have a go at this?
    So, how do you fix this?
    First, the back cover and the front cover need to be more in synch ~ the styles and colors clash.
    I just took a look at my pile of Debbie Macomber’s Christmas books. A design similar to CEDAR COVE CHRISTMAS might work ~ the art on the top cover reminds me of Leavenworth, WA. The shops and gazebo could be at the top of the cover ~ blending into the background. The lake could be made bigger ~ like the field on Debbie’s book ~ serve as background for your name + the book’s title.
    The bottom needs something powerful yet soft, sexy, and sophisticated like the art across the bottom of LAKESIDE COTTAGE and SUMMER BY THE SEA.
    You can tell your publisher from me that I’m one of your most loyal readers. But, if I didn’t know you or your books, I wouldn’t even see this cover in the piles at Costco.
    The front of this cover IMHO doesn’t even remotely begin to cut it. . .which you already know or you wouldn’t have asked us, eh? Your instincts are right, Susan. You work too hard to write books your readers love to be let down by your publisher’s choice in cover art. Make them work as hard and smart as you do.
    You give us your best. You deserve their best too. This ain’t it.

  47. Having just bought a 19th century French poster of a Parisian couple skating outdoors for my powder room, I’m going to second Mary’s idea about the couple skating on the lake. (Also, having grown in snow country, where we did skate on the town lake, I’ve been wondering why your lake isn’t frozen.)

    Now, aren’t you sorry you asked? Or at least Mira’s art department will be. LOL

  48. Having just bought a 19th century French poster of a Parisian couple skating outdoors for my powder room, I’m going to second Mary’s idea about the couple skating on the lake. (Also, having grown in snow country, where we did skate on the town lake, I’ve been wondering why your lake isn’t frozen.)
    Now, aren’t you sorry you asked? Or at least Mira’s art department will be. LOL

  49. Relative newbie to the Susan Wiggs world here. Just stumbled upon your novels a little over a month ago, thanks in large part to Just Breathe’s cover.

    I was wandering around Wal-Mart, bored and frustrated with their wimpy book selection, when Just Breathe caught my eye. The cover immediately hooked me in. Something about the woman’s pose, her clothes, a sort of care free attitude she seemed to be taking with life sucked me in and spoke to me.

    Of course the novel itself was brilliant as well. I have since read a total of 6 of your novels, am currently in the middle of Lord of the Night (loving it) and have all of the Lakeshore Chronicles books checked out from my local library. I’m nothing if not hooked.

    As for the Lakeshore Christmas cover, I have to agree with some of the others who said that it’s a bit crowded. I understand the need for an interesting cover, as well as the reasoning behind making the author name so large, but with all that is going on around it, I actually had to make an effort to find the title of the book. There’s simply too much happening and it got lost in the shuffle. Perhaps it would work better if the photo was a little less busy.

    Love your writing Susan! I can’t wait to dive into the Lakeshore Chronicles and anything else you have in store for us!

  50. Relative newbie to the Susan Wiggs world here. Just stumbled upon your novels a little over a month ago, thanks in large part to Just Breathe’s cover.
    I was wandering around Wal-Mart, bored and frustrated with their wimpy book selection, when Just Breathe caught my eye. The cover immediately hooked me in. Something about the woman’s pose, her clothes, a sort of care free attitude she seemed to be taking with life sucked me in and spoke to me.
    Of course the novel itself was brilliant as well. I have since read a total of 6 of your novels, am currently in the middle of Lord of the Night (loving it) and have all of the Lakeshore Chronicles books checked out from my local library. I’m nothing if not hooked.
    As for the Lakeshore Christmas cover, I have to agree with some of the others who said that it’s a bit crowded. I understand the need for an interesting cover, as well as the reasoning behind making the author name so large, but with all that is going on around it, I actually had to make an effort to find the title of the book. There’s simply too much happening and it got lost in the shuffle. Perhaps it would work better if the photo was a little less busy.
    Love your writing Susan! I can’t wait to dive into the Lakeshore Chronicles and anything else you have in store for us!

  51. I’m agreeing that it would be great to tie in the awesome back cover style/colors with the front of the book. I am also missing the blurb from the first mockup – “Wonderful things happen when naughty meets nice”…I think a little blurb give a new reader (or not so new) a bit of excitement to pick it up and read more. I do like the font much better on the 2nd example and although I absolutely LOVED the snowglobe idea and would instantly buy a book with that on the front (so you just need to write a story to go along with that) :), I think the cover should tie in somewhat with the other Lakeshore Chronicles. If they could zoom in more on the scene it, more like on “The Winter Lodge” (which even ties in the back cover colors), it would be much better. The gazebo could be more of the focus. Now that I look closer, I think they tried to tie the front to the back with the huge snowflakes.

  52. I’m agreeing that it would be great to tie in the awesome back cover style/colors with the front of the book. I am also missing the blurb from the first mockup – “Wonderful things happen when naughty meets nice”…I think a little blurb give a new reader (or not so new) a bit of excitement to pick it up and read more. I do like the font much better on the 2nd example and although I absolutely LOVED the snowglobe idea and would instantly buy a book with that on the front (so you just need to write a story to go along with that) :), I think the cover should tie in somewhat with the other Lakeshore Chronicles. If they could zoom in more on the scene it, more like on “The Winter Lodge” (which even ties in the back cover colors), it would be much better. The gazebo could be more of the focus. Now that I look closer, I think they tried to tie the front to the back with the huge snowflakes.

  53. I definitely prefer the second version for all the reasons you cited, Susan. I have to add that the “small town” looks more like a planned ski resort than how I’ve envisioned the world you’ve created with this wonderful series of novels. It doesn’t have the right feel to me. Perhaps it’s too impersonal…?

    ~Deb

  54. I definitely prefer the second version for all the reasons you cited, Susan. I have to add that the “small town” looks more like a planned ski resort than how I’ve envisioned the world you’ve created with this wonderful series of novels. It doesn’t have the right feel to me. Perhaps it’s too impersonal…?
    ~Deb

  55. Hi – This was certainly interesting reading. The book would be an auto-buy for me, but as you stated, you are looking for new readers……..My thoughts are that this book looks like something coming from Nicholas Sparks or Thomas Kinkcaide (unfortunately, I would pass on that). They should have your name larger; that’s how all your previous books have been printed. And I have to agree with the last post by Deb Stover, this town doesn’t look anything like I envisioned. I had the impression the lake was farther from town? One last thing, I agree with the busy-ness of the cover…..I am still looking forward to reading it!

  56. Hi – This was certainly interesting reading. The book would be an auto-buy for me, but as you stated, you are looking for new readers……..My thoughts are that this book looks like something coming from Nicholas Sparks or Thomas Kinkcaide (unfortunately, I would pass on that). They should have your name larger; that’s how all your previous books have been printed. And I have to agree with the last post by Deb Stover, this town doesn’t look anything like I envisioned. I had the impression the lake was farther from town? One last thing, I agree with the busy-ness of the cover…..I am still looking forward to reading it!

  57. Susan,

    I’ve been reading and loving your work for years, but would I buy this hardcover? Probably not. It seems bland, not fresh and insightful as I’ve come to expect from your work.

    My initial focus is directed at the clouds just over the town. I have the impression of mountains (Catskills are small mountains, yes?) but on second glance there’s nothing to support that. Maybe muting the clouds or shading in some mountain peaks would help, if that’s the intent. And it seems odd to me that the swirly clouds (and swirly little design next to the title, which seems to be echoed in the clouds) are in the center/focus point of the cover. And it seems awfully *blue* to me. Shouldn’t there be some green, or something, if it’s near Christmas? Maybe a huge outdoor evergreen that the town decorates, or lights on the gazebo, or something?

    People sitting on bench, near a lake, with snow coming down? Several things wrong with that idea — and anybody who lives in an area with real snowfall would wonder why they don’t have hats (I know, picky picky!), and why they aren’t walking or skating or skiing or something, and why the lake isn’t iced over!

    I agree with whomever asked whether the lake is actually out of the town? That was my impression too.

    That town looks very artistic – more like a Swiss Chalet to me, and the cover is way too much like several others that have come out in the past couple of years to be distinctive.

    Best of luck getting it fixed ~
    Lynne

  58. Susan,
    I’ve been reading and loving your work for years, but would I buy this hardcover? Probably not. It seems bland, not fresh and insightful as I’ve come to expect from your work.
    My initial focus is directed at the clouds just over the town. I have the impression of mountains (Catskills are small mountains, yes?) but on second glance there’s nothing to support that. Maybe muting the clouds or shading in some mountain peaks would help, if that’s the intent. And it seems odd to me that the swirly clouds (and swirly little design next to the title, which seems to be echoed in the clouds) are in the center/focus point of the cover. And it seems awfully *blue* to me. Shouldn’t there be some green, or something, if it’s near Christmas? Maybe a huge outdoor evergreen that the town decorates, or lights on the gazebo, or something?
    People sitting on bench, near a lake, with snow coming down? Several things wrong with that idea — and anybody who lives in an area with real snowfall would wonder why they don’t have hats (I know, picky picky!), and why they aren’t walking or skating or skiing or something, and why the lake isn’t iced over!
    I agree with whomever asked whether the lake is actually out of the town? That was my impression too.
    That town looks very artistic – more like a Swiss Chalet to me, and the cover is way too much like several others that have come out in the past couple of years to be distinctive.
    Best of luck getting it fixed ~
    Lynne

  59. I’m a HUGE Susan Wiggs fan and I have LOVED every minute of the Lakeshore series. I think you’ve chosen their cover’s wisely and they do draw me into the scene. I however live where we have lots of snow for Christmas and I’m drawn to winter scenes. They are cozy, romantic and pleasing to me.

    I’m also an artist and the composition is very good….the pathway draws my eye into the scene however the couple on the bench does INDEED stop the eye. I’d take them out. I like the idea of the gazebo being lit up. I won one of your drawings and received JUST BREATHE (an AUTOGRAPHED copy at that!) and just finished it. I’m now reading Sheila Roberts’s LOVE IN BLOOM. (also a gift from your website). I’m anxiously awaiting the new Lakeshore release.

    I ALWAYS can spot your books because your name is eye-catching and so are your titles. Keep up the GREAT work and THANK YOU for letting us put our opinions in.

    Darla

  60. I’m a HUGE Susan Wiggs fan and I have LOVED every minute of the Lakeshore series. I think you’ve chosen their cover’s wisely and they do draw me into the scene. I however live where we have lots of snow for Christmas and I’m drawn to winter scenes. They are cozy, romantic and pleasing to me.
    I’m also an artist and the composition is very good….the pathway draws my eye into the scene however the couple on the bench does INDEED stop the eye. I’d take them out. I like the idea of the gazebo being lit up. I won one of your drawings and received JUST BREATHE (an AUTOGRAPHED copy at that!) and just finished it. I’m now reading Sheila Roberts’s LOVE IN BLOOM. (also a gift from your website). I’m anxiously awaiting the new Lakeshore release.
    I ALWAYS can spot your books because your name is eye-catching and so are your titles. Keep up the GREAT work and THANK YOU for letting us put our opinions in.
    Darla

  61. I’m sorry but I totally forgot to say I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your and Barkis’s picture on the back. It’s SWEET!! Totally sets a mood. Gorgeous of you both!!

  62. I’m sorry but I totally forgot to say I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your and Barkis’s picture on the back. It’s SWEET!! Totally sets a mood. Gorgeous of you both!!

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